Shohei Ohtani The Warriors will continue to do well Shohei Ohtani also overcame his only weakness, “I’m not good against southpaws! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shohei Ohtani The Warriors will continue to do well Shohei Ohtani also overcame his only weakness, “I’m not good against southpaws!

Overcoming a despicable betrayal-- his batting average against left-handed batters, which was .245 last season, skyrocketed to over .300, and he even hit a long ball in the opposite direction!

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The first at bat on April 16. You can see how he swings with his head up instead of forcing the ball to run outside.

The only weakness of the best hitter has finally been overcome.

In the bottom of the first inning of a game against the Nationals on April 16 (Japan time), the Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani (29) was suddenly captivating. He easily hit the fourth pitch thrown by left fielder Mitchell Parker (24) to the right side of the plate.

I hit a curveball that broke wide and seemed to run away from me,” he said. It could have been a first-pitch ground ball, but it was a hard-hit ball that went between first and second base. It shows how well he is hitting.
Ohtani, like other left-handed hitters, has had trouble with southpaws, and his batting average against them was .245 last season, when he won the home run king and MVP titles. However, as of the end of this game, Ohtani’s batting average against left-handed pitching this season is .333, and rather than struggling, he has completely conquered them.

To put it in perspective, the long-awaited No. 1 hit of the season, which came in the 41st at-bat of the season opener, came off of Giants left-hander Taylor Rogers (33). He hit a 93 mph (about 150 km/h) sinker slightly high on the outfield into the right field stands.

Why was Ohtani able to eliminate his one and only weak point?

Takahiro Toketsu, a professional baseball alumnus who himself was a left-handed hitter, analyzes that there are three major factors.

The first key word is “body opening and swing trajectory. Against left-handed pitchers, most balls have a trajectory that moves away from the outside. If you try to pull it hard, your body opens up and you swing in such a way as to show your chest to the pitcher’s side. The bat goes a long way, and it becomes difficult to get a hit because of the hand strike. This season, however, Ohtani has been able to hold his bat open until the very last second and hit the ball by rotating his body all the way around with the power of his lower body.
Ohtani is a player who has been able to thoroughly implement the so-called inside-out swing, in which he takes the bat out from the inside. If he can get the bat out from the inside without opening his body, he can hit the ball hard. This will also reduce the number of ground balls.”

The second point, he says, is that he is thorough in his first-strike hitting.

Pitchers also want to get a quick count, so the first pitch tends to be sweet. If you aim for the first pitch and hit it hard, the battery will be wary of the next pitch and will have no choice but to play with a ball, which in turn creates a count in the batter’s favor. A hitter with a high batting average can thus create an environment in which it is easy for him to hit.

The third homer he hit on April 9 was to left field, and if he hits more of these, it will be easier for him to take on left-handed pitchers.

When Ohtani is not in good form, he often gives up ground balls to the second baseman. When he is in bad shape, he often gives up a lot of ground balls to the second baseman, and his desire to hit becomes stronger. But now, he seems to be hitting for the head of the shortstop. This is evidence that he is attracting the ball. There will be fewer cases where he strikes out because his body swims to a left-handed pitcher’s breaking ball.

Although Otani lost a great deal of money due to the despicable betrayal of his ally, no one can take away his skills. Nor will it hurt the feat that the heroic player, who has evolved even further, will accomplish this season.

On this day, we honor Jackie Robinson, the first player of African descent to become an MLB player. Otani also wore the number 42.

From the May 3, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

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